LOP OR NOT?
It is not a surprise that 1 out of 3 adopters who wrote in to us indicated LOP as their first choice. They are indeed too cute to resist and even our rescuer Jackie has a crazy soft spot for them. But instead of focusing on their adorable faces, we try to educate these adopters about their challenges as well. As many of them maybe first time owners, we truly hope that they are prepared for the higher maintenance and expenses associated with these droopy ears. Here are 5 less-known facts about lops that we will like to highlight to all aspiring lop owners:
1. ITCHY EARS!
Their floppy ears make them incredibly adorable but the fact that they cannot ‘air’ their ears make them very prone to ear infection. In the dark and moist environment, bacterial, fungus or even parasites can breed very fast and if the owner does not keep a close eye on them, the infection can affect the inner ear and even their brain! For owners who have seen a rabbit rolling on the floor due to vertigo, it is one of the most helpless feeling ever. This often leads to a permanent head tilt which will require extensive medical attention. Truly not meant for the faint-hearted.
2. TEETH WOES!
Dental disorders are very common in all rabbits because their teeth are always growing. Unfortunately for our lops who are bred to have a smaller and rounder head, their teeth may not be aligned evenly to allow it to be worn down properly. What this means is no matter how much hay the rabbit eats, the dental problem will always be there. This can lead to sharp spurs poking into their gums, causing abscess which needs to be surgically removed. What’s worse is when the tooth grow so long it starts to poke into their eyes! It is extremely painful and many rabbits do not survive this ordeal.
3. S, M or L?
Many people have the idea that all lops are small. In fact, lop is just a category and there are many different types of breed. Dwarf such as the UK Holland Lops (common) and the UK Mini Lops are typically ~1.5kg and have a very flat nose and rounded ears. Medium size such as the US Mini Lops (common) and Lionhead Lops are slightly bigger at ~1.8kg and tends to have a more muscular build and thicker feet. Uncommon in Singapore, English Lops and French Lops are the great danes weighing at >4kg. In Singapore, many breeders have crossbred lops to the point of no return. So, unless you know exactly how their parents AND grandparents look like, do not be surprised when your 2-month old baby ballooned into a 2kg darling after 4 months of ownership. Let’s just say we have seen too many surprised owners to know this just too well.
4. FURRY TROUBLES!
Our lovely lops have roots tracing back to the western world where the climate is cooler and dryer. So even if they are born in Singapore, they will carry the genes that give them a very dense and furry coat. Some lops even have double coating that makes you feel like you can never comb out all the loose fur. In addition, amatuer breeders often mix them with long fur breeds such as angora or lionhead. So while your 2-months old lop may look neat and clean now, it may pouf up when you least expect it!
One of the biggest misconceptions about lops is they are cuddly. Well, they may look like a teddy bear, but a rabbit will always be a rabbit. As a prey animal, a rabbit will always prefer to have its fours securely on the ground than be held in anyone’s arms. It takes an experienced handler to hold them safely so they won’t kick a fuss and for a new rabbit owner, this requires plenty of patience and practice. So parents, please think carefully before you ask to adopt a lop for your child to cuddle to bed. We will strongly recommend that you consider a stuffed animal instead.
With over 100 lops that had been through the wonderland, our experience had clearly validated all the 5 facts mentioned above. We hope that all aspiring lop owners can consider our advice carefully before you commit to a lop.
(Photo attached is of Hien, a 4yo US Mini Lop rescued back in 2013. Hien suffers from chronic bacterial ear infection and after a $2500 Lateral Ear Resection which opens up her ear canal to improve drainage of the pus, she still requires daily injection, oral medication and monthly vet visit. She is adopted to one of our volunteers who spends no less than $3000 on her medical expenses every year).